It will come to a surprise to some that apparently the former administration is now the font of every economic evil…
In his inaugural address, President Obama proclaimed “an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.”
It hasn’t taken long for the recriminations to return — or for the Obama administration to begin talking about the unwelcome “inheritance” of its predecessor.
…mostly because it would imply that there was ever a time when this administration didn’t take that stance. Even the article itself doesn’t really support the title, as it admits a good ways in that President Obama started off on blaming the previous administration for its ills on or about January 26th. What’s been happening since then is much more accurately described by what was apparently the original title of this piece, which was “Obama Sharpens His Reminders That He Inherited Fiscal ‘Mess’ From Bush.” This also makes the ludicrous assumption that no blame accrues to Democrats for our financial meltdown – but at least that title doesn’t pretend that this is any sort of new behavior on Obama’s part.
None of this is particularly surprising, of course: anyone who was paying attention during the election was pretty much automatically dismissing the Democrats’ claim of ‘post-partisanship’ as the errant nonsense that it was*. This administration started with the iconic image of its partisans disturbing the transfer of power ceremony with mocking chants, and it hasn’t gotten particularly better since. Between the Imperial Speakership, “I won,” and the frank admission that the White House intends to not ‘waste’ the crisis, it has become increasingly clear that the President and his party intend to rule as liberal Democrats.
Which is, by the way, their privilege: they did in fact win. But it’s also why the President’s numbers have slowly but surely dropped over the last month. As I understand it, that dip is coming from Republicans coming to grips with the idea that it’s business as usual, after all. The Democrats are still as happy as clams, probably for the same reason. the independents haven’t made up their minds yet – and predicting their response is always difficult. Hence the ‘new’ tone from this administration: they know that they’re losing the Republicans anyway, and eight years of treating Bush as a secular Satan has left their base with a taste for hearing more of the same, so they might as well go more explicitly negative and hope that the Middle won’t object too much.
Will it work? Define “work.” It may keep the President in office past 2012, but the acute stage of our economic crisis will be two years old by Election Day 2010. If it’s still going on at that point, blaming it all on the former President may not be the potent talisman that a lot of freshman Congressmen will be needing at that point.
*I will admit that some of the foreign policy picks did raise false hopes in that regard, but then I had forgotten that the Democrats only had the choice between Clintonites and antiwar progressives. As the former can fake foreign affairs competence for quite a long time, and the latter can’t be trusted to come out of the rain… well. Not really a choice at all, there.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.